Saturday, 10 March 2012

Homework Post 5: Book review- Looking for Alaska by John Green

The book I chose to read is called “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. I read Looking for Alaska because my sister is obsessed with the author who is a Youtube celebrity. When she heard he had published a book, she ordered it online and demanded I read it too so she’d have someone to talk about it with.

The book is about a boy named Miles Halter, a high school student who is obsessed with the last words people have said before they’ve died. At the beginning of the story, Miles begs his parents to let him attend a boarding school located in Culver Creek, Alabama, that his father attended when he was a high school student. When pressured by his parents as to why he wishes to leave, Miles uses the last words of Greek scholar ‘François Rabelais’- “I go to seek a great perhaps” in order to convince them, saying he is unhappy with his life and wishes to find an adventure to lead. His parents agree to the change, and are reassured that they are doing the right thing by sending him to boarding school when only two people show up to Miles’ leaving party emphasising his loner status.

Upon arrival at Culver Creek Prepatory School, Miles befriends a boy named Chip Martin (The Colonel), and earns himself the nickname “Pudge”. He joins the Colonel’s group of friends, Alaska, Takumi and Lara, and by the end of his first week is settled into the school.

Over the course of the next few months, Pudge has the time of his life. Living on his own, his confidence soars and he becomes a lot more comfortable hanging out with others. With his new found attitude, Pudge discovers the joy that most teenagers experience some time during their schooling; Romance.

 Playing pranks on many people around the school, breaking into their rooms and smoking down by the school’s artificial lake, Pudge starts developing romantic feelings for Alaska. Alaska and Pudge grow close during their time together despite Alaska still dating a boy named Jake who currently attends college 30 miles away from the school.

As the story continued I got curious as to the layout of the book. Instead of chapters, the book had irregularly sequenced parts labelled with titles that seemed to be counting down the number of days before some sort of unknown event. It gives the book suspense from the very beginning and keeps your eyes glued to the pages until the very last word.

Looking for Alaska is filled with plenty of quirky references, hilarious situations, socially awkward moments and drama-filled pages that will make it unforgettable. Although the book is great, it isn’t for the faint hearted and has a few explicit references mixed in along the way. The plot can also get quite depressing, and might spill a few tears on the pages.

By the end of this book, one will finally know what all the building suspense had lead up to, and will allow an understanding of the message the author wished to portray throughout the pages. The message John Green tried (and succeeded) to show was essentially, ‘what is the point of life’. The story intertwines around a quote Alaska showed to Pudge, which features the last words of Simon Bolivar, “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!” Everyone who reads this book will be tasked with trying to understand what the labyrinth is a symbol for, and whether getting out of the labyrinth means to live, or to die. The ending paragraph is an essay Miles wrote explaining what he believes the labyrinth to be, based on what had happened in his life over the past few months which wraps up the story indefinitely.

I would give this book a rating of 10/10, as it isn’t a sappy teen drama I’m normally recommended by other people. I’m sick of rubbish the likes of twilight being thrust in my face and was glad that Looking for Alaska brought some realism and depth to a story. This book is for anyone over the age of 13 and adjusted to the world of immaturity. It is one of the best books I have ever read.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome review - sounds like a really interesting book. I watched some of the authors videos, he seems pretty funny.
    If you bring the book in you can use it for your reading assessment.